Car charging firm plugs into expansion after £1.7m deal

Franklin Energy has secured £1.7m of funding under the Department of Transport’s latest drive to improve electrical vehicle charging technology for on street environments.

The Liverpool-based firm is the sole charging provider under the trailblazing Innovate UK programme and will deliver smart on-street charging in cities throughout the UK.

In a bid to address concerns surrounding usability, cost, speed and accessibility for EV (electric vehicle) drivers, the new fast EV charging system, EnSmartEV, has been developed under a partnership with Entrust Microgrid, the project lead, based at the University of Lancaster.

Under the ambitious scheme Franklin will trial the technology across two sites in Merseyside through Halton Borough Council.

This will see two EnSmartEV charging hubs introduced into the local area to enable local residents to have improved access to EV charging as well as support the town centre in having publicly-accessible EV charging points.

Uniquely, the charging hubs will be able to charge any type of EV – with the ability to charge up to six vehicles simultaneously.

Managing director Robert Byrne said: “This is a ground breaking scheme that addresses the very real issues surrounding EV charging in public spaces.

“In order to meet government targets and roll out the drive towards EV ownership, we must have the infrastructure in place that meets the needs of modern life. This technology will provide highly-efficient, incredibly low-cost charging solutions.”

The project is being piloted in Halton from September and is being implemented via Halton Borough Council and the Liverpool City Region.

Many existing public EV chargers operate using peak power, burning excessive amounts of fossil fuels and are slow when compared with high speed chargers and are, therefore, considered inefficient.

The new EnSmartEV system solution addresses each these issues, integrating lithium batteries able to charge EVs with off-peak or low-tariff electricity at rapid speeds.

Rob added: “This project will demonstrate what a huge difference efficient charging will have on existing EV drivers whilst encouraging others to make the shift to electric when weighing up options and viability. It’s great to be part of this pioneering scheme, and selected as the technology provider of choice, that will undoubtedly set a precedent for the EV UK movement.”

Xiongwei Liu, founder of Entrust Smart Home Microgrid Limited and the EnSmartEV charging technology system, said: “This is game-changing technology. Whilst using battery storage to charge EV’s is nothing new, we are able to maximise the use of DC to DC technology which leads to ultra high-efficiency and very little corresponding power losses that are inherent in current systems.

“Further, we are able to fast charge up to six EV’s simultaneously with the ability to charge all makes and models of EV.

“At the moment, very few people are talking about the impact of EV’s on the electricity grid, but the reality is that the grid will simply be unable to cope with demand from EV charging.

“Our solution will ease the burden on the grid and manage electricity loads at peak times.

“We are grateful to Innovate UK for the funding and look forward to working with our partners to deliver the EnSmartEV project in Halton.”